The recently released The Best Australian Stories 17 (Black Inc. 2017), edited and introduced by Maxine Beneba Clarke, is a compilation of 21 short stories by some of Australia’s best short fiction writers. Featuring work by Ryan O’Neill, Ellen van Neerven and Julie Koh, the stories incorporate fictional truths, magic realism, history and emotion, each with a kernel of poignancy at its heart, each telling a big story in the short form, some with an unexpected twist, and some that feel like they are part of a longer work even though they stand independently. This is a perfect collection to dip in and out of at will, and provides a snapshot of what Aussie writers are currently creating. Some of my favourites from this book include: Tony Birch’s Sissy and Melissa Lucas Melissa Lucashenko’s Dreamers, both moving stories featuring indigenous characters; Mirandi Stanton Mirandi Riwoe’s Growth, a grisly tale of loss and grief; the chilling Barren Ground by Verity Borthwick; the childish wonder of Miracles by Jennifer Mills; Help Me Harden My Heart, a vivid account of extremism, by Dominic Amerena; the awful inevitability of Josephine Rowe’s Glisk; the terrible hidden secret in The Telephone by John Kinsella; Raelee Chapman’s story of emotional and physical fragility and risk in A United Front; and fear of the unknown in By Proxy, by Cassie Hamer. This is a delightful collection with stories of various genres and styles that will resonate with many readers.